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rangerr's avatar

Have you ever been disconnected from your "normal" life for an extended time?

Asked by rangerr (15671 points ) April 14th, 2010

This summer, I’ll hopefully be spending three months in Uganda.
While there, I’ll have no internet, phone, television or even newspapers/mail access.
So I’ll be shut off from everything that I know, with no contact to anyone outside of our camp in the village.

The more I start to think about that scenario, the more I start to get really anxious and double think this trip.
Being cut off from internet and the phone is okay… but the thought of not knowing what’s going on with anything besides the 15 or so people that are in the village.. is a scary thought. I can’t even send letters home to let anyone know I am okay.

Essentially, I’ll be dropping off the face of the Earth for three months.
I’m also worried something is going to happen with my sister while I am gone, and I’ll have no way of knowing until I return home.

Have you ever had to deal with anything like this?
How did you cope? Did you cope?
Do you have any suggestions to help me get over this anxiety?

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21 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

Yes, I have spent a good number of years at sea on a ketch. It is as cut-off as it is possible to get. I love it. In my twenties I spent a few months in the Antarctic – that wasn’t quite the same as there were a lot of other people there, as well as reliable radio communications – but it was still cut-off from normal life.

Trillian's avatar

Well, I guess that’s what happened when I went to boot camp. I survived.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Every time we go on vacation, it’s fantastic. You know what, it pretty much goes away, at least for me, by the time I get to the airport. One thing you might be able to do is leave contact info with the embassy, it’s not much but it’s better than nothing, and sometimes they can be very accommodating. I’ve done that before when I’m going to be out in the middle of nowhere (also a safety thing). Make arrangements before you go with someone responsible, whom you trust, to handle your affairs while your away and everything should be ok. Also, a lot of time we drastically over estimate our ability to influence outcomes of the bad things we think will happen while we’re away. We like to think our being there would have prevented it, but usually, it wouldn’t.

Go to Uganda and enjoy your time there for all it’s worth and instead of worrying about what might go wrong where you aren’t, concern yourself with getting the most out of where you are.

syz's avatar

I spent six weeks in Lac Xoa, a tiny little village in the mountains of Laos. No phone, electricity on average about 6 hours a day, and an 8 hour bus ride from the nearest medical care. It was a life changing experience, I would go back in a heartbeat. It will change how you view the world, America, consumerism, and yourself.

The greatest moment of dislocation that I had was lying on my back on the top of a mountain one night with no lights, no city glow, no contrails, and no sign of development as far as the eye could see. Looking up, I noticed a fast moving, bright object in the sky – a satellite in orbit. It was so bizarre to be living so primitively and be able to witness such an advanced piece of technology.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I have only gone 2 weeks without,phone,tv and I loved every second of it and would love to do it again for a longer period of time.
Have a good trip:)

kyanblue's avatar

The longest I’ve gone was a month, I think. It turned out to be great…the forced disconnect from the rest of the world is immensely peaceful. You think that the world will start revolving faster and everyone will fall off if you’re not watching, but it really doesn’t. ;)

Yes, there’s always the risk something will happen to you—and none of your loved ones will know—or something will happen to your loved ones—and you won’t know. But trust that nothing drastic will happen…you will be back and everything will be all right and everyone will have amusing stories of what happened in your absence, and you will have amusing stories of the absence of all communication with the greater world.

I ended up keeping a daily journal. It fulfilled my urge to attempt communication with the outside world, since I would write everything I’d done and all the news I’d want to tell people or things I’d want to ask…and then I’d just tuck it back away in my luggage. I had a blog and a Twitter and corresponded regularly with a few friends by Facebook or email, and eventually the anxiety of being away from the internet evaporated. It’s funny; huge, gigantic, newsworthy things happened that month I was away, and when I came back I didn’t really care I’d missed it. It was just kind of an “oh, how interesting” moment.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@syz my greatest moment of dislocation always seems to be when I get back to the states… and somehow it just makes me appreciate my time where I was all the more. You’re absolutely right about how amazing it can be.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Every summer I go canoe tripping in northern Canada for 6 weeks. I was fine, and I’m the type of person who loves her iPod and computer. Good luck!

Cruiser's avatar

Camped in a pup tent next to a river for 3 weeks with only a fishing pole, swim suit and scuba gear…that was unreal fun!! Yee Ha!! 3 months would only be a dream for me! Have fun!

Your_Majesty's avatar

I never left the cities. I wish I can have my own self-adventure someday so I can get more experience and toughen up my personal durability.

Kraigmo's avatar

You will love it. After your trip in Uganda, and when coming back home to your normal life, you’ll probably be very happy to have an easy shower, but everything else will probably be quite depressing for awhile. At first in Uganda, you will miss all the things you listed, but by the end of your time there, you won’t miss them much.

A feeling of peace, known only to small children, can come to adults who break away from their normal lives for longer than a week, with absolutely no contact to their busy stressful normal connections. One cell phone call even a pleasant one can ruin it all. So the fact you are totally disconnected, makes you in for a really great adventure.

The absence of national and world news… the absence of the tick-tock of 1st World Culture… the absence of the gossip and news of friends and family…. all of that are ingredients, for the best thing you ever did, ever.

janbb's avatar

I went to a summer camp that was run like a kibbutz – no phone, no spending money, no t.v. It was very intense and very wonderful. I think it will be incredible for you, @rangerr, although we will miss you here!

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Four deployments to Afghanistan, one to Saudi one to southern Philippines, one to northern Kenya and another to the Thai-Burma border area. Each was the armpit of the universe in its own unique way. The only deployments I enjoyed were Alaska, Antarctica, Germany and Norway; all were either civilized or empty. Now that I’m retired, I’m staying home.

augustlan's avatar

I have nothing to add but this: Enjoy every minute, then come back and tell us all about it! So exciting!

gggritso's avatar

Since I was a little boy I spent every summer at my Grandma’s cottage south of Moscow. A few years ago I went for the last time, and I spent two months there. Due to a series of unfortunate timing issues, I ended up in a very isolated situation. I had no running water, no internet, no phone (or anyone to talk to), 1.5 channels of TV (which I didn’t watch) and no teenagers within a 10 kilometer radius.

I don’t think I’ve read so much in my entire life. Some days it never stopped raining, and I just read books nonstop. Sometimes it cleared up and I went biking, or did yardwork. I certainly think I’m a better person for it, and honestly I kind of wish I could do it now. I imagine it would do me a lot of good.

I don’t know how you can get rid of you anxiety, all I can tell you is that in the end it’ll be amazing no matter what.

Response moderated
phoebusg's avatar

Yes, nearly whenever I visited my dad. But also often on my own, skipping my own life and usual habits. It’s quite refreshing, you come back with an outsider’s view.

Axemusica's avatar

I only wish my experience without modern technologies could have been more enjoyable as so many tell here, but I was merely homeless for about 2 months. Living in collapsible pull behind might sound nice to some, but in November in Wisconsin, when temperatures are as low as freezing, it’s not nice when that air leaks between those big cracks. During this time I was miserable and dirty, but I do have some fond memories of having some pretty big fires and ate some really odd stuff. Even after that when I finally got a job and got into an apt, I still only had the internet and electricity. I lived there for nearly 2 years without a phone or a TV, shit we didn’t even have a working stove.

I would like to go live in some random village in Japan for a while. I think I’d like that.

rangerr's avatar

First off: I love you all and I love your stories.
I love listening to stories. So if you have more details about your technology-less adventures, PM me.

Secondly: The trip isn’t going to work out. The area we would be staying in is pure chaos right now, so they don’t feel that it’s safe enough. Which is breaking my heart. I want to bring all those kids home with me.

But I am getting an all-expenses paid cruise for my friend and I from my dad’s boss because he feels bad that I don’t get to go.
That is all.

augustlan's avatar

@rangerr :( and then :D

Sophief's avatar

What a nice thing that you were going to go and spend time with all those poor children. It is a shame you couldn’t go, I’m sure it would of been special.

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